Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Theories of Consumer Behavior and effect of the Media Media possesses the potential to affect how consumers view diverse aspects of their life. These effects could range from the way they view society to their view on relationships, which could have a significant impact on the behavior of consumers (Walters 18)…
This can be seen in the way that films and cinema in general are advertised to induce consumers or groups of consumers to listen to specific points of view about the films, while blocking out other views (Walters 19). This paper seeks to focus on three theories of the media’s effect on consumer behavior. These are two step flow theory, hypodermic needle theory, and cultivation theory. These theories will be considered alongside how they affect cinemagoers. The hypodermic needle theory is also referred to as the magic bullet theory. This theoretical model implies that mass media portends a powerful, immediate, and direct effect on audiences (East et al 121). This was especially so in the 40s and 50s, during which cinema attendances were at their peak, and several factors contributed to the media’s strong effects during this period. First, television and radio saw a fast rise and increased popularity among consumers. In addition, the persuasion industry, which consists of propaganda and advertising, also saw an increase in use. This theory contends that it is possible for mass media to influence a large and diverse group in society through uniformly “injecting” them with specific and appropriate messages to trigger the response they desire (East et al 122). In the cinema industry, this theory suggests a direct and powerful informational flow between the sender and the receiver. It graphically suggests whatever message the cinema company sends out is the bullet that is fired from the media that takes the place of a gun into the mind of the consumer (East et al 122). The hypodermic needle analogy is used to show how the messages from the media are directly injected into a passive consumer base, whose opinions are immediately influenced by the implied message. In this case, the media communicates an idea about a film that is consumed by the audience who have no power to resist message’s impact (East et al 122). This theory was especially relevant during the 40s and 50s when film critics did not yet have a way to get their opinions out to the public efficiently. However, with the advent of the internet, this theory does not have as much effect on studying film consumer behavior because the audience has a way to validate the message they are getting from the media (East et al 123). However, in this model, the cinema-goers have no way to escape the message’s effects, which means that the message the cinema company puts across about their film will be taken as the truth. The audience is passive and has a lot of information “injected” into them. This gets to the point that they end up believing what they are told about a specific film because they do not have another information source from which to get information. However, this theory has seen less impact with the emergence of film critics and their role as opinion leaders. The two-step flow theory states that media indirectly affects consumers through the influence of opinion leaders. Most people, including cinemagoers, are influenced second-hand by media via opinion leaders and their personal influence. This theoretical model contends that opinion leaders in the media affect the manner in which consumers will form their behavior (Weimann 98). These opinion leaders are first exposed to media content, which they then interpret according to their personal opinion. These opinions then infiltrate the general public consumers ...
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